If your tooth has died, the only way to salvage it is through a root canal. Still, many people are uncomfortable with the thought of having a root canal procedure performed.
Here is a bit of information about root canals to help you better understand them.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that includes the removal of the pulp of a tooth. The pulp is the soft living material that makes up the innermost layer of the tooth structure. The pulp includes the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth.
As a dentist performs a root canal, they drill a hole into the tooth. After extracting the pulp, the practitioner cleans and disinfects the hollow tooth's interior. The tooth is then filled and covered to protect it from future damage. A tooth-colored crown is frequently used to cover the tooth to ensure that the dental restoration blends seamlessly with the natural tooth color of the patient.
Why Is a Root Canal Performed?
Once the pulp is damaged and cannot recover, the tooth dies. The interior of the tooth may become a breeding ground for bacteria that can invade the jawbone or even the blood. A systemic infection that results from an infected tooth can become life-threatening.
Other than a root canal, the only appropriate treatment for a dead tooth is extraction. Many dental patients do not wish to lose a tooth. As a result, dental professionals offer options to salvage the natural teeth whenever possible.
What Are Some Indications That a Tooth Has Died?
There are multiple indications that a tooth has died. They include:
- Dental discoloration. A tooth may take on a dark gray hue once it has died. The color change is due to the damaged blood vessels within the tooth.
- Mouth odors. The infection that may be associated with a dead tooth can cause a foul odor in the mouth.
- A gingival abscess. An abscess may appear on the gums near a dead tooth. It usually has a pimple-like appear appearance and may be sensitive to the touch.
- Temperature sensitivity. The tooth may be unusually sensitive to changes in temperature. Thus, you may experience pain when eating cold or hot food.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
A root canal procedure is generally not painful. The dentist applies localized numbing medication to help minimize the discomfort of the treatment.
To learn more about root canal procedures, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.